Benayoun finalizes move to Chelsea

Signs 3 year deal reportedly worth £5 million.

benayoun 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
benayoun 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel captain Yossi Benayoun has joined English champion Chelsea from Liverpool on a three-year deal.
While Benayoun completed the transfer on Friday, a day after Roy Hodgson took charge of Liverpool, he had already been allowed to move by Rafa Benitez, who left Anfield on June 3.
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder, who was contracted to Liverpool until 2013, made 134 appearances during his three seasons with the Reds.
“I am very excited to come to a club like Chelsea, it is a big club and I think it is a dream for every player,” Benayoun told the club’s Web site.
“Hopefully we will be successful.”
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “Yossi has a lot of quality in midfield and can play in lots of positions. I like his behavior on the pitch.”
Financial details weren’t disclosed, but the deal is reported to be in the range of £5 million.
The deal comes after the Blues bid farewell to a number of stars, most notably Joe Cole and Michael Ballack.
Chelsea desperately needed to buy someone to fill their places and Benayoun’s signing seems to fit the bill.
Benayoun first moved to the Premier League in 2005 when he joined West Ham from Spanish club Racing Santander. His excellent form for the Hammers saw him secure a move to Anfield in the summer of 2007.
He scored 37 goals overall for the Reds, including the header that gave the Merseysiders a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu when they met Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League during the 2008-09 season.
A Liverpool spokesman said: “Yossi’s departure was agreed between the player and Rafael Benitez a number of weeks ago. Everybody at Liverpool FC wishes him well for the future.”
AP contributed to this report.